42nd Annual Hope Watermelon Festival kicks off Thursday


The 42nd annual Hope Watermelon Festival kicks off Thursday. 

First Day Thursday

Food Vendors (30) & Arts & Crafts Exhibitors (102) will be open at noon on Thursday, August 9. A Bike/Trike Watermelon Festival Parade will mark the official opening of the festival. All children 10 & under are encourage to decorate a bike, trike or stroller and join in the fun as the parade flows throughout the park in celebration of the weekend festival. Children may also walk in the parade and play homemade musical instruments. Line-up will begin near Legion Field at 12:30 on Thursday. The 2017 Little Miss Watermelon Festival Queen, Kenzi Burns will lead the parade! Those in the parade will march in memory of our precious friend and co-founder of the modern-day Hope Watermelon Festival, Mrs. C. M. “Pod” Rogers. Miss Annette was to serve as the parade’s Grand Marshall this year.

The Kidz Zone is packed with low-cost or no cost activities such as:

* Camel Rides for adults and children

* Pony Rides & Petting Zoo

* Balloon Art

* Junior Auxiliary Bubble College (Saturday)

* “Paint the Bus” / Bus provided by HPSD

* Chalk Art & Tattoo Artist

* Gyroscope & Train Rides (Saturday)

* Storytime (Saturday)

* Inflatable Obstacle Course (Friday afternoon & Saturday)

New to this year’s festival is our Watermelon Festival Mascot. Wally the Watermelon will be making appearances throughout the festival! Make sure you find him and get a picture!

Musical entertainment is always a crowd pleaser at the Hope Watermelon Festival. Stage entertainment begins at 2:00 PM on Thursday & concludes at 6:30 on Saturday evening. This year’s festival goers will enjoy hearing Rock & Roll, Blues, Gospel, Classic Country & more! The Hope High School Band will even take the stage this year!

Watermelon Idol preliminaries will take place on an outside stage on Thursday at 4:30. To enter, please visit www.hopemelonfest.com. We thank UAHT for chairing the idol competition!

The Kiwanis Club will, once again, offer a delicious BBQ Chicken Supper in the Community Room at the park. The time for the supper will be 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM.

Another great festival tradition is the Dog Show. The fun begins on Thursday night at 6:30 PM in the Swine Barn. We appreciate Dr. Damien Stroderd for taking the lead on this show.

The Mister & Miss Watermelon Festival Pageant will take place on the McDonald’s Stage inside the coliseum on Thursday, from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Please check the Chamber Facebook page for entry forms. Special thanks to Gigi Bradshaw for planning & implementing the pageant.

Friday Fun Day!

Enjoy shopping & dining all day! Do not forget Watermelon by the Slice under the Big Tent! If you like to

cook or bake and have a great watermelon recipe, you will want to enter the Make Mine a Melon Contest and Tasting. Rules & entry forms are posted on our Facebook page or you may pick up a form at the chamber. The contest will begin at 10:00 in the coliseum.

One oldie but goodie is returning to this year’s festival. The business & industry competition known as the Watermelon Olympics will kick off at 4:00 (across from Legion field behind the BancorpSouth Stage). Entry forms are posted on Facebook or you may pick them up at the chamber! We appreciate Wendell & Latesha Short for chairing this competition.

The Hope Lion’s Club carries on their tradition of serving delicious fried fish at their fish dinner, Friday from 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM in the community room.

The annual softball tournament will begin at 7:00 on Friday evening.

The Headliner Concert will be Friday night this year! The Watermelon Idol finalists take the stage first followed by Buddy Jewell (a local favorite). Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee are our headliners for this year’s festival as they bring the Urban Cowboy Reunion Tour to town! Tickets may be purchased at the chamber or online at www.melonfestconcert.com All performances will take place in the park on Legion Field (CMC Steel Products Stage).

Super Saturday!

Come early & stay late as Saturday will be one, fantastic day at the festival! The Watermelon 5K will get things started at 7:30 AM. Registration for the 5K and the Melon Mile Fun Run may be found on our festival site at www.hopemelonfest.com

The Hope Civitan Club Antique Car Show entry forms may also be found on the same site. 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM – please check out the cars!

We are excited to see the return of the CMA Bikes! They will host a bike show at the main entrance of the park (to your right).

Saturday Only Exhibitors will fill the coliseum. You will want to shop the coliseum on Saturday!

KIDZ Zone will be in full swing on Saturday. Camels, ponies, obstacle course, train rides, petting zoo, gyroscope, bubble college, & balloon art creations. F.A.C.T. /Head Start will provide story time for kiddos at 10:00, 1:00 & 3:30. So many exciting activities in this area!

Money in the Haystack is another festival favorite. You will not want to miss this activity that will take place near the Big Tent at 9:30 AM. Special thanks to Heather Doucet and her team at State Farm.

The Festival Fishing Derby will take place on Saturday, from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM on Huckabee Lake. Please enter the back gate (near the pool) if you want to participate in this year’s fishing derby. Robin Lee is taking the lead on the derby.

A new activity for children (ages 6-10) will take place on Saturday from 9:00 – 11:00 on Legion Field. Run! Jump! Throw! Should prove to be fun, healthy & entertaining! Wendall & Latesha Short will also chair this activity.

No one wants to miss the UAHT Politically Correct Watermelon Eating Contest! Come cheer on the “contestants” at 10:30 on the BancorpSouth Stage! Who will walk away the winner this year? The Watermelon Weigh-off and auction will take place shortly after the Politically Correct Contest comes to a close. Come to the Big Tent to find out who has grown the largest melons! We encourage everyone to bid on one or more! The Watermelon Eating Contest will take place at noon followed by the Seed Spitting Contest at 1:00.

We are excited to have three exhibitions on Saturday. Taekwondo Exhibition will take place on the BancorpSouth stage at 1:00. BMX Bike Exhibition will provide entertainment on the basketball court at 11:30, 1:30 & 3:45. To round out the exhibitions, there will be a Swimming Exhibition at 3:00.

Thanks to Summer Powell, a Baggo Tournament will take place at 2:00 on Legion Field. Registration forms are in the chamber office.

You will want to “Adopt a Duck” for $5.00 to support the Watermelon Waddle. 250 numbered ducks will “waddle” in the pool. Will your adopted duck win? Come find out at 2:00.

Global 1 Pro wrestling is returning to this year’s festival! The matches will take place on Saturday from 4:30 – 6:30 in the rodeo arena. Tickets will soon be sold at the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce & at the door the night of the event. $15.00 for Adults and $6.00 for children 12 & under.

To close out the festival, there will be a gospel concert on the BancorpSouth stage from 4:00 – 6:30. Local and regional artists will be performing.

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